In theory, as intercultural communication (ICC) experts and diversity practitioners, our main function is to clarify what cultural competence is and why it is needed and increase managers and employees overall intercultural sensitivity and cultural competencies. In practice, however, it is much easier said than done. Many corporate training firms in Tokyo, Japan, promote ICC to gain a foothold in the corporate training market, as it is a colorful and attractive concept that many businesses and corporations use to build and enhance their image. However, it appears that very few businesses are taking any concrete steps to actualize the concept. This is illustrated by the common practice of many corporate training firms promoting ICC without ever delivering an exclusive ICC program, but rather using ICC as a supplement for other training programs. This phenomenon provides the basis for my primary research question: Are the recent marketing strategies of ICC programs, as well as the practice of offering ICC as a secondary feature in business skills courses, an indication of a growing trend among corporate entities to sidestep cultural issues in the Tokyo international business community? Intercultural trainers interested in furthering their careers in Tokyo must persuade a very skeptical clientele why ICC training is needed and convince managers and employees that enhancing their understanding of their own cultures and increasing their overall intercultural sensitivity and cultural competencies is not only worthwhile, but also profitable. Given that knowledge is “culturally bound” (Hofstede, 1991), it would seem necessary, therefore, for corporate training enterprises to design and implement marketing strategies that accounted for the cultural differences they encounter rather than ignoring them, thereby setting a new trend that is bound to catch on in Tokyo and beyond as people constantly on the move strive for something new and different.


Bilingual, Multilingual, and Multicultural Education | International and Comparative Education